The province will meet with Catalyst Paper and community stakeholders to come up with strategies to protect the paper industry after the U.S. imposed hefty anti-dumping duties on the company.
Premier John Horgan announced on April 19 that he has invited Green Party caucus leader Andrew Weaver, opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson, representatives from Catalyst, local MLAs, mayors and representatives from Unifor to join him, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston and Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson in a round-table discussion on the issue.
He said the round-table will hear first-hand the impact of the case, and how to best work together to protect the workers that depend on this industry.
“These duties are unfair, especially to the people, families and communities who make their livelihood in this industry,” said Horgan.
“We’re listening to our industry partners, community stakeholders, and working alongside our federal colleagues to support the forestry and newsprint industry and do everything we can to ease the impact of these duties.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced a new 22.16 per cent anti-dumping duty on products produced by Catalyst mills in B.C., which includes mills in Crofton, Port Alberni and Powell River.
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With a 6.09 per cent preliminary American countervailing duty already in place, Catalyst Paper is now facing combined duties of 28.25 per cent.
In total, Catalyst’s mills in B.C. directly employ approximately 1,600 workers, including about 570 at the Crofton mill.
“We thank the government of British Columbia and the opposition parties for their support in calling for an end to these unfair and punitive duties,” said Ned Dwyer, president and CEO of Catalyst Paper.
“This unwarranted trade action comes at a challenging time for Catalyst. With fibre supply issues and other rising input costs, these duties further impact our competitiveness and we will continue to defend our company and our employees against them.”
Unifor, a union representing many of the Catalyst workers, has started a campaign against the duties and “Trump the bully”.
“Unfair tariffs aren’t just political theatre, they’re reckless policies that will close down mills and throw hundreds of Canadians out of work,” said Unifor president Jerry Dias.
Jon Lefebure, mayor of the Municipality of North Cowichan, where the Crofton mill is located, said “the fear is that if these punitive tariffs continue, the mill will be priced out of business.”